Maria Marcu-PopArt is the illustrator of all four numbers of the neo-avant-garde magazine “[TAM-TAM]” from the period 2015-2018.
Also, between 2015 and 2020 she illustrated 6 volumes of poetry printed by the non-profit organization which she co-founded.
In 2018, her first art album entitled “Human Odyssey” appears in the bilingual Romanian-English limited edition which contains an impressive series of 192 mini-collages made a year earlier.
At the end of 2019, also in a bilingual Romanian-English limited edition, is printed her first monographic retrospective art album entitled “Charta Erotica” containing 126 of the most important personal creations of the first decade of artistic activity.
In 2020 she begins to illustrate the ”ManiFArtE” magazine (Manifestos & Fine Art Eretica) – an universal subrealistic show-window from The New Vanguard.
Reviews of both art albums published by Maria can be read on Babelio French website:
INTERVIEW with Maria Marcu-PopArt
– from the second issue of the neo-avant-garde magazine “ManiFArtE” –
”In the heat of the great E”
”Reporter: Who or what is the great E?
Maria Marcu – PopArt: There can only be one. The Eroticism. The one who through his brilliance and luminous reverberations encompasses all the other smaller e’s: energy, emancipation, evolution, equilibrium. There is a close connection between cause and effect, don’t you think?
Rep: In other words, does the permanent artistic refuge state coordinate personal attitudes, developing them and delimiting them from what is superfluous?
MMP: Oh, for sure. It is also a correction of the entity, if you want to look at it this way. I am my own needs, my desires, my aspirations. Nothing more than that. The rest makes it difficult for me to be, to penetrate every thought or fiber.
Rep: Restful existential strategy. Did it take you a long time to manage the storms of the ego?
MMP: No, because I had the benevolent native intuition from the start. I did nothing but continued to strengthen the already elevated structure of the outlined personality. I don’t deny that it is a long process, that of the consolidation, spread over more than two decades, ever since I finished the educational cycle of university schooling.
Rep: And how do you perceive yourself now, or rather, how do you feel others see you?
MMP: Simple, material and sincere. Material through the physical nature of my creations, and honest because I can only imagine that my works end up in the collections of people who are at least as open as me. When you have something to give, even in the form of an artistic idea, you do it without reservation. It is what keeps you restless, it is that something dictating to your conscience how to act and what to do. And when you decide to answer this conscience call it means that the energies are more than we will ever be able to understand. They are the inner revolutions of the being.
Rep: It has been more than 10 years since you chose the path of affirmation in the fine arts, and yet not many people can say that they know you, even if your erotic paintings are recognizable all over the world. Is it about the mystery that must revolve around the person that creates, or is it just a strategy of discretion?
MMP: When you decide to recalibrate your whole life through art, you can no longer say that you have just started a session of personal discretion. After all, you are visible to anyone through what you’re trying to portray and convey there, on canvas or on paper, you knowingly turn into a palpable emotion, not just into an imagined one. Maybe it’s my way of responding to the killer wave of images covering other images, I prefer to avoid the crowds, discovering the original being. As for the mystery, do you really think something like this still exists in a world coordinated by the outright impulse to get more and more likes?
Rep: You’re right, it’s unlikely. However, the need to report one work or another to the viewers / buyers opinions could not be disregarded so far.
MMP: You’re forgeting about the avant-garde of the early twentieth century, in which the effect was what mattered, and the means by which it was obtained were more related to the art of subterfuge, to the objective decontamination of creations. Anyway, please know that I did not intend to invent false leads, although the idea sounds appealling, I just level the path for the one who approaches my art without obstructing his understanding, without constantly assaulting him.
Rep: Erotica has always managed to maintain a constant interest of art collectors. Under these conditions, do you always manage to come up with something new, to add a page, or do you just keep your balance by walking on already traveled paths?
MMP: Probably every artist builds until he finds himself. There is a neuralgic point in the level of your own creations that you stubbornly cling to, playing with influences, pastiche or even mimicking. Once you get rid of the known styles terror, the works will obtain the unmistakable signature of the authentic. Provoked or unprovoked. You need, as a graphic-painter artist, an intransigent personal perception, the grandeur of the creative subjectivism, the breath of a brush that chooses to confront feelings, not just to reproduce them. As for me, I have the certainty of an unequivocal artistic courage, of a visual language that floods my body, assaulting it with cruel emotions, as a primary instinct of truth. We are nerves, we are complex systems for filtering images and thoughts, in which pleasure and pain come at some point to be confused by cohabitation.
Rep: Since we are under the summer heat influence, tell us why did you chose to portray the great E in a pop art manner and not in an expressionist or post-modernist one? They were, in fact, closer to the times we are living right now.
MMP: Because I simply knew what was right for me. It’s about my inner structure, my inclination towards female portraiture, eroticism and imagistic fantasies. But don’t think that in the early attempts during my first years of studying and understanding the pop phenomenon, as I like to call them, I didn’t experience oscillations. The searches of that moment in time represent, by elimination, the foundation of today’s artistic expression. The important thing is that I found myself, naturally filtering the preconceptions and prejudices of a society hungry for consumption, aligned to the borders of globalization through technology. There is nothing more dangerous than rolling out from the Middle Ages of obsolete precepts that seem to disregard progress and evolution. Moreover, when it comes to privacy/intimacy, defined as a private space reserved for each individual, social consciousness is slow to adapt to the new global coordinates imposed by the development of the Internet. Everyone is now a click away from the total transparency of human nature. The fact that I represent the popular erotic niche, in a direction consecrated by great American artists, is a pride for me, especially since I was born in a country that no later than 30 years ago was in a closed regime, totalitarian, which did not allow anyone to have and cultivate free artistic or civic expression.
Rep: How does the artistic mirror work in your case, do you have doubts about a work or that what defines you is the constant of self-confidence?
MMP: Oh well, such a great thing this rigorous appeal of conscience when it comes to your own creations! There are moments and moments, depending on the constructivist ardor or personal pleasure. You can imagine that I prefer, by far, the last ones that ensure the mental comfort I need so much in order to imagine situations, attitudes, types of erotic pleasures. The desire to paint is the only barometer that always approves, that brings me closer to a work, to the point of confusion with that subject. While a rigorous erotic construction delimits my feelings, chaining me rather than freeing me.
Rep: Where does the little e ends and where does the great E begins?
MMP: When the emptiness of the personal being is filled with the satisfaction of the primary emotion. Of the impulse, the provocation, the ecstasy. I love to imagine the unleashing of erotic sources, in each of those who choose to buy a work for me, when they receive it, when they feel it in their hands, when they frame it and display it on the wall. It is the connection that I have always imagined to be so necessary between the one who paints and the one who cherishes his art, as a sharing of the most intimate emotions.
Rep: A thought, an urge or a wish for readers and collectors?
MMP: Let yourselves be excited by eroticism!”
”I love your art style and topics. The way you bring confident, dominant women to life. I like that you are not afraid to delve into the fetish arena, and you do it bravely and beautifully. I am looking forward to your new pieces and what visions you’ll incorporate into your work. I just stumbled across your work and I was in awe. You are like the Banksy of pin ups! Brilliant! I’m looking forward to receiving these pieces and your book.” – Josh Nyman
Fragment from the preface of the 2019 art album “Charta Erotica”
”The clear outline of the organic compositions, the artist declaring herself a one-sided portraitist, driven only by the reactions of the erotic-charged tectonic plate from the depths of the feminine ego, allows us to spot the trace of a unique coordinate in the Romanian independent art so far. The materialization of a pictorial career in pop culture is the defining element during the first 10 years of activity of the artist Maria Marcu-PopArt. The autocracy of artistic misogynism is finally unveiled by a strong hand that knows how to lead us through all the desires’ subterranean, that workshop painters have not even dared to propose it to the public eye. Here it is! A woman painter manages to impose cohabitation between figurative sensuality and militant essence, without being challenged for her way of artistic expression, but this even begin to represent the argument of temptation for lovers of erotic art.”
The innovative thermographic technique
„Representing an innovation of the artist, the thermovision destructures in paintings tissues and light fields, analyzing and reinterpreting them, like special image effects. By its constancy and at maximum intensity, it can even become optically turbulent, leaving us each time to restructure, through our own chromatic code, the entire visual field. The effect of color distortion intersects with firm lines and contours, meant to highlight precisely the center of attention. The fire that seems to consume the organicity, in fact, ends up to calibrate the artistic message and precisely reproduces the state of mind of the character represented, straight from the artist. Escaping manifestations of the violent everyday imaginary, of an eroticism so loaded and overflowing, the thermographic visions are substituted for the feeling of social guilt, spreading common fantasies and restating the leitmotif of the universal attraction.
Figurative-thermographic painting was developed by Maria Marcu-PopArt as an innovative technique of separation in color tones. Used in 3 or 4 basic colors, the minimum chromatic separation in a work is 6 tones and the maximum is 9 tones. In other words, the artist uses a gradient (decelerated or accelerated, depending on the printed effect) of about 18-24 minimum shades and 27-36 maximum shades for each work. As the technique of color decomposition advances, the number of shades may increase significantly, depending on the expected final result. The pictorial thermography is the fruit of the artist’s chromatic imagination – she is the one who can print the work the relative order of personal reflection in the controlled chaos of colors and shades.
Maria Marcu-PopArt paints not what she believes, but only what she feels. She is the recipient of real emotions, released from the system of social values, transmitting them in the most convenient way in the form of illustrative interpretations for the era we are going through. People desperately want to find in art traces of contemporary culture and civilization, and the Romanian artist’s paintings fully offer this possibility; spontaneity, nonconformism, audacity, energy or fetishistic fantasies (dominated or respectively dominant), all are elements present in the erotic art trenchantly depicted.”
The retrospective of an intimate show
„ The thermographic technique is a working tool of the artist who portrays in an original overflowing manner, thus centering and isolating the human figure from the constant background noise, calling for the release of powerful visual effects. Characteristic for the highly refined portraiture, the illustrative style of Maria Marcu-PopArt becomes a transmitter that emotionally transfigures the subject of her work – the woman -, operating at the levels of understanding, tolerance and acceptance by the viewer of sexual diversity, but also attracting attention, through militant artistic works, on human exploitation and trafficking, dehumanization, or on the danger of climate change. (…)
Thus, she managed to approach the taste of a wider audience, through non-conformist frameworks and profound iridescences that will always leave the sensation of a great intimate show, a perpetual way of celebrating and discovering the great beauty.”
Fragment from the preface of the 2018 art album “Human Odyssey”:
„ Abandoning the artist in an ocean of doubt or circumstantial cunningness is a reality as harsh as the industrial revolutions, sexual and digital altogether. The trauma of the artistic becoming becomes thus the freeway of the penance without sin, while virtual radios replace some androids spectators placed on the edge of the Sisyphean route. Conformity only distorts, until flattening, the epicenters of the creative reactions, while the collective unconscious disrupts the chaos in a more and more ciphered synthetic collage.
This is the antagonistic mirage of the „Human Odyssey” imagined by Maria Marcu-PopArt – 192 crypto-collages that accentuate the subliminal visual message, instead of the subterfuge launched just to obtain a shallow special effect. The interpretation of the human emotion transforms under our eyes into a universal show in which the artist manages to project the holograms of present-past on the screen of the future-present as a necessary and irreversible spiritual retrocession.
In the face of any counterfeit ideologies, the „Human Odyssey” remains a palpable artistic manifest and an ensemble of universal symbols that outline but, above all, revolutionize the architecture of the dream.”
Review from Dogbotz Boneyard:
„When asked what she wanted to reveal about herself as an artist, Maria Marcu-PopArt simply said: “I was born under a lucky star in Romania. A star that never ceased to illumine my path and guide my steps. I look at myself and I love what I see. I like how I am and where I have reached. I am at peace with myself and with others. I know who I am and what I want out of life.” Her art, presented in a Pop Art style, reflects the simple truth of who she is and what she ignites her soul. Pop art aims to use images of popular, as opposed to elitist, culture in art, emphasizing the banal or kitschy elements of any culture, most often through the use of irony. So, this is what contemporary pop artists, such as Maria Marcu-PopArt, strive to express through their works.
Dogbotz Boneyard appreciates the pop art works of Maria Marcu-PopArt because of her playful and often assertive use of popular icons found in comic books, posters, Japanese animé, and even Mid-Century East European Socialist images. Not only do the nudes in her artworks reveal the beauty of the women portrayed but also the impassioned souls contained therein.” (www.dogbotz.com – Chicago, U.S.A.)
Review from Babelio:
„I met Maria Marcu-PopArt during the Blecher Fest 2017 (festival dedicated to the writer Max Blecher) at Roman and I am delighted. She is a great artist whose work indeed claims two main orientations: eroticism and manifartism. In her artistic statement, Maria Marcu-PopArt recalls that she has the chance to live from her art in complete interdependence and freedom. His art expresses, in fact, intimate emotions, which gave me great pleasure.” (Gabrielle Danoux, writer, book translator, critic – France)
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